No, I don't find it to be offensive. I find it to be a fitting name . The term just refers to the teachings (yana = vehicle, theory) that point out that materiality is inferior, low; poor, miserable; vile, base, abject, contemptible, despicable (Hina). The primary focus is to look directly at the narrow material-obsessed perspective that keeps us snared in baseness and reactive abjectivity. It is the pointing out of Hina.
Mahayana just refers to the teachings (yana) that point out that all living beings are in the same inclusive, large boat (Maha). Compassion is the primary focus to make this point about the mind's potential for either separateness (smallness, contractedness) vs. inclusivity (largeness,expansiveness). It is the pointing out of Maha.
Vajrayana just refers to the teachings (yana) that point out the potential strengths (Vajra) the mind is naturally capable of. The primary focus is on the mind's innate ability to "cut through" delusion. (Vajra = adamantine or diamond, which are extremely hard substances that can cut through anything). It is the pointing out of Vajra.
- The teachings that a material perspective is low and and miserable.
- The teachings of inclusivity as an antidote to the effects that arise from the delusion of separateness.
- The teachings that the mind has the innate potential to precisely cut through delusion.
There is nothing "high" or "low" in this naming convention...it's about different vehicles that lead to the same thing. Compare it to entering a house...some may use the front door, some may use the garage door, some may use the patio door. All entrances serve the exact same purpose and lead into the body of the house. In the same way, all three yanas lead directly to the same ultimate experience, and all three are found in each other, but in different degrees of primary focus. Hina, Maha, and Vajra are just three skillful tools.
Any tantrums we may have about "high" or "low" in relationship to these three skillful tools are born from the craving ego that is either wallowing in grandiosity or feeling insecure (which are just two sides of the same deluded coin). This hungry/fearful pettiness is fertile soil for sectarianism and arises out of an incomplete understanding (or a contrived self-serving ignorance) of the precise meaning/application of these three terms. Unfortunately, it is a small number of immature teachers and monks in all three of these traditions who haven't yet risen above their need to feel grandiose or insecure that perpetuate this rubbish, along with archaic Western secular scholarly mistranslations. Humans always find something to fight about, always searching for ways to confirm imagined differences rather than bringing common ground to the foreground of vision.
Last edited by pink_trike
on Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss
- Dawa Gyaltsen
Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.